Wednesday, October 20, 2010

E-Publishing And Business Models

Via Cat Rambo: E-Publishing And Business Models. An excerpt:

The rise of the e-reader does raise the question as to whether the subscription-based model might become viable. Certainly if you’ve got enough people subscribing through their mobile device, you could end up with a significant chunk of change, and we’re seeing (imo) some movement towards lower prices but more buyers with e-books.

One possible direction in trying to arrive at a new model is to borrow the one used to good effect by Zynga, which is to sell virtual goods, things that don’t exist. Here’s two possible examples, but it would be possible to come up with others without too much brain-racking.

1) Promote and build community heavily, driving discussion and recognizing/encouraging participation. Sell customizations to user profiles/avatars. For example, a vanity title or a special decoration celebrating a holiday. Sell memberships to an event and give the user a special badge or award that shows they participated in the event. To make this effective, you need to make participating in the community a cool experience that answers one or more emotional needs in users.

2) Come up with a game associated with the publication. Make it point-driven, and give users points for actions like reading the website or posting on the message boards, but (important) also allow them to buy points. Points could be used for turns, character items/upgrades, special names, pets, and so forth. If you think that wouldn’t work, go look at Zynga’s earnings for last year.

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